Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Modern (?) Life (?)


(not written in 'Ms.Cranky' style, but, ...., thanks for looking, good stuff.  mpk)


I.

We couldn’t both get down the sidewalk at the same time, so I waited. I had a cart and three loads of clothes from the Laundromat that I was dying to get down the street and up to my apartment.

But, they, the adults and dog in-between really took their time, oh, she saw me waiting.  And, she could have told the man but she was busily talking to him though he was absorbed by his phone screen and not paying any attention to her.  She could easily have told him to move a little quicker as I waited and waited some more.

But he could have cared about her or anyone as he surveyed his contraption and walked as slowly as he wanted.

When the man finally looked up from his phone to walk past me, I thought he’d apologize, say, ‘sorry, or excuse me.’  I would have.  But, instead there was just this straight stare at me, quite hostile actually; maybe he thought I shouldn’t have been ‘allowed’ on his sidewalk.

Later I wondered who raised people like this?; who raised people to be so self-absorbed, so non-caring of other people’s lives; maybe they saw my grey hair and thought I was retired --- hah, like that will ever happen.  And, even if I could be retired, I might still be real busy.

But, besides wondering who raised these people, mostly, I worried about the little dog stuck in the middle of them.  She deserved better.  She seemed a very sweet doggie, if a bit confused by being very ignored.

II.

He weighed me on the scales and said “Good for you;” I had seen him many times before when I came to the doctor.  I laughingly explained --- “All I had to do was stop walking down the Dove chocolate aisle of the local CVS and 6 lbs. fell off in a month!”  I was sitting up on the metal table by now.
He then tied me up to the blood pressure machine and started it.  I watched the machine --- good --- my blood pressure was well within the norm. I knew how to read the machine.

And, it was a good thing I did because three minutes later I was still tied up to it and had memorized my blood pressure readings over and over.  By then, the young tech had received a call and was busily reading his phone which had a photo of a pretty young lady on it.  He smiled while reading, ignored me some more, then, still smiling, started texting back.

By now, I figured I’d had enough of this, extricated myself from the machine, got down from the table and hollered back to him my readings as I went out the door.  I doubt he heard.

At least, he had forgotten to charge me my ridiculous co-pay!  

Amazing.  And my acquaintance is worried ‘the Chinese are taking over the world’??? Well, it wouldn’t be hard to take over this world.  And this is why our new rip-off health plan upped my co-pay and cut my benefits??? --- no more eyeglasses for you dearie, no more preventive medicine for you, oh, and your blood pressure? --- it’s good you know how to read it by yourself. 

III.

I was happily swinging my bag while walking across Court Street in Brooklyn, happy because I was on my way to the great bread bakery (which also had cookies!).  I waited for the light, walked out into the crosswalk carefully and noted a police car slowly coming out of the street across from me.  

I walked merrily along, anticipating just a few cookies for later but as I walked more into the street, I noticed that the police car from the side street turning in --- just kept coming into the intersection, slowly, thank God, but it was NOT STOPPING, not stopping for the pedestrian (me) in the crosswalk. 

My mood quickly changed from merry to panic and my bag stopped swinging as I saw the grille of the police car very close to me and realized the police car was not going to stop.   

Screaming, I was able to jump out of the path of the oncoming police car.  Aren’t police people supposed to protect you from reckless drivers and not be them?  What is wrong with this picture???

The driver opened his window and very nonchalantly murmured to me  --- “Sorry, we were looking at something,” --- ‘something’?, ‘we’?, why we??? And why the driver???  Why was the driver ‘looking at something’ when his colleague could look at it???  Couldn’t one police person drive and the other ‘look’? 

And, could anyone have bothered, maybe, to look at me??? --- me, the pedestrian about to be run over in her own neighborhood, in a crosswalk, with the green light by people she once trusted and whose taxes she gladly pays for???

I saw the policewoman in the passenger seat next to the driver with a another contraption in her lap.  There didn’t seem to be an emergency, they were just moseying along, peaceful as could be, except for almost killing someone.

I never cry, ever, ask anybody who knows me --- unless a pet is sick and then I cry all over the place.  But, there I was on Court Street outside my favorite bakery, holding close the bag I had just a bit ago been swinging so merrily, crying my heart out, trying to focus on the bread in the window but realizing, instead, I had gotten way too close to not being around to buy bread or anything else and I would have been downed by the very people who hand out tickets for what they had just done. 

Your thoughts are greatly, warmly welcomed.

mpk


Thursday, June 11, 2015

MS. CRANKY THINKS --- BEWARE OF PEOPLE WHO SO DESPERATELY WANT TO HELP YOU --- BECAUSE IT COULD VERY WELL BE --- ALL ABOUT THEM.



Ms. Cranky wonders --- if a person is so determined to help you and give you directions and knows more than everybody else who have already kindly told you directions, maybe you should walk, no --- run away?

Which is why Ms. Cranky could be found a week or so ago shuddering in the last seat next to the bathroom, speeding down a highway on a Chinatown bus which she had vowed never to take again.  There was a horrid down pour and thunder and lightning all round and everyone seemed terrified which made Ms. Cranky’s nerves worse.

Cranky in a more organized way than per usual, had a perfectly nice bus reservation on a Peter Pan bus to come back to New York from Baltimore, she even had her receipt printed and other things Ms. Cranky has to 'work at.' 

Ms. Cranky admits to attracting people who like to talk and talk and talk and she feels good about (for the most part) but she also can attract people who need to help her a little too much and hang on to her and repeat and repeat and don’t really listen very well, if at all.  Like Ms. Cranky knows a lot about this man and he knows nothing about her, not even where she was returning to, not important.

There were no above lights working on the Chinatown bus, so Cranky couldn’t even read or do a puzzle to divert herself.  As many of you know, Ms. Cranky is afraid of most moving contraptions but the day before going towards Baltimore she had felt secure by having a no-nonsense very tall woman driver on Peter Pan who gave them absolute instructions that you could clearly hear and walked down the aisle before leaving, closing the above cabinets and swearing as she did so about people who hadn’t closed them.  

But, here no one seemed to care and when Ms. Cranky tried to close the cabinets of this bus, they would not close.

Though she had had great directions from a city bus driver earlier on how to get to the station she needed to get home, ‘he’ latched on to her, he, being the only one in all of Baltimore to know the way to the Peter Pan Bus Terminal, he being the only one who knew the bus stop had just been changed, not the bus drivers, only he.  And, Ms. Cranky, sadly, fell for it --- ouii, you’d think by a certain time in your life, you’d be beyond this???

The man never stopped talking nor bragging about his job at a famous company and also talked about the funeral he had gone to.  Ms. Cranky tried to mention that she had just been to a funeral too but the man didn’t seem interested (signs, omens!).  

Looking back on it, he needed to guide her to the bus terminal and, instead of it taking 20 minutes at the most, took almost two hours to get to --- the city bus going way out on highways and by-ways that Ms. Cranky had not seen the day before when she had arrived.  The man took over, told her where to sit on the city bus and impressed everyone around him with his guiding her to where she would get yet another city bus to get to her long distance bus???

After all this lost time, Ms. Cranky knew she was now going to miss her reserved bus and when she got off to catch yet another city bus, the man pointed and hollered for her to --- ‘walk down the hill’ (it had started to really rain now) when a young woman also getting off the bus grabbed Ms. Cranky’s elbow and said ‘Don’t listen to him, wait for the bus with me’ (another city bus), ‘there is no sidewalk going down that hill, you’ll be walking with trucks next to you on an open highway.’  Thanks 'Mr. Helpful'!

Ms. Cranky loved this young woman, she would turn out to be the best part of way too many lost hours but, maybe, it was worth it all to meet her and hear the story of how her little boy had almost died of a rare illness last winter but was now okay though the woman worried over him too much.   She loved this woman, Ceira, and advised her not to be too overly worried, hard not to but, …. 

And, when they rode the next bus together to the supposed terminal, as they drove along this huge highway, the woman said --- “See, that’s where you would have walked --- out on the highway, that man made me so mad!”  

Cranky hugged the woman goodbye and walked up a tall hill to try, finally, to catch her bus back to New York --- except that there was no terminal, well, there was a terminal but it was closed up tight, buses now departed way back in the city, at the place she had come into yesterday and the place she had set out to get to.  The working terminal was way back in Baltimore, a good $30-$40 cab ride back, probably a worse price in now rush hour traffic. 

People were standing in the rain outside the shuttered terminal, because the bright side was that there was a Chinatown bus that stopped there, though now running over an hour late.  Ms. Cranky had stopped taking those buses years ago as they had had a huge accident rate at the time, hopefully they were better now.  But, she would not pay $30-$40 to go back to the station she had been on her way to when Mr. know it all, Mr. ’I work for this important company, I know where the terminal is and no one else in all of Baltimore does’ (funny he didn’t know it had closed a while ago now?)

So, Ms. Cranky was, sadly, stuck when the Chinatown bus finally arrived and ominously jumped the curb and got stuck and couldn’t move forward.  But she had no choice (the driver had jacked up the price so the others waiting were also upset but no one could do anything as they were way out on a highway in the increasing rain and lightning); this bus cost only a $1 less than her more comfortable clean safer-feeling bus and, so, the funeral not being sad enough, now Cranky prayed her way home. 

The bathroom across from Ms. Cranky had no paper towels or toilet paper.  Though it did have, just to make matters worse, one ripped ‘car’ deodorizer hanging (on a bus!), and, with of all names a deodorizer could possibly have, had printed on it --- “scent --- ‘black ice.’  That really helped Ms. Cranky’s overly vivid imagination with the rain pounding that the lightning cracking all around.

A friend the next night would muse --- “Hmm, I wonder what black ice smells like?”

We made it home, obviously, thank God and what should have been an under 3 hr. 45 min. trip became an almost seven hour one.

The moral of the story is (and Ms. Cranky doesn’t know why she needs to keep learning these things) --- if someone seeks you out of a big crowd and talks to you and advises you and brags over and over again about his job, and then re-finds you and says the bus will come in 10 minutes and it comes in 50 minutes, and, you say after another 40 minutes on this man’s bus, ‘this is taking lots longer than yesterday and none of these areas look familiar’ (and, he retorts, ‘kids on school days, more stops, that’s why it’s longer’) --- trust your instincts --- run, get off the bus immediately and hop a cab back to the proper place and let the guy find someone else to talk to.

Ms. Cranky, who for some strange reason, knows directions well, is always glad to help people out but she does something the man in Baltimore didn’t do for her --- she listens, she hears what they’re saying, because giving people directions isn’t about her.  But, for this man it was all about him.

Thanks for stopping by, hope you have safe and sure travels. 


Apologies to Chinatown buses, Cranky is remembering the ones earlier on that have closed now.

But, absolutely no apologies to 'Mr. know it all.'  Cranky hopes he doesn’t find any new ‘victims.’

And, an extra thanks to the lovely Ceira who on top of all else, insisted, insisted on giving Ms. Cranky a token for the next bus.  She ‘said’ she got them for free but Ms. Cranky didn’t really believe that.  She only wished she had gotten an email for this lovely woman so she could check on her and her children.

Otherwise, life is good.  Cranky’s home waiting for her own city buses again and having more luck than usual in the waiting-time department, who knew???


Monday, May 18, 2015

MS. CRANKY WONDERS --- IS THERE AN AGE WHEN ONE’S LANGUAGE CHANGES?


All her life Ms. Cranky remembers older women calling her ‘hon’ and ‘dear’ and ‘sweetie,’ most especially waitresses named Lil or Gert.  Cranky didn’t mind it, it was a nice part of life and she didn’t think much about it.  Until lately --- when Ms. Cranky became one of ‘those people.’

There was no warning nor preparation and no one told her to do it.  There was no instruction booklet or ceremony gently moving her into the world of the Lil’s and Gert’s of Cranky’s yesteryear.

But, slowly, Ms. Cranky began noticing those old familiar words creeping into her very own language, usually on goodbyes.  “Bye, sweetie; okay hon, see you real soon…”

Did Ms. Cranky get older?  --- Yes, of course, Ms. Cranky got older, and, seemingly, very quickly.  But, did Ms. Cranky suddenly become a waitress in a highway diner with homemade coleslaw and heavy off-white coffee mugs?  No she didn’t. 

It took a while for Cranky to process this information and to even realize she was doing it.  She’d hang up the phone and go, ‘Hmmm,’ did I just call my niece-in-law ‘sweetie’?  Was that actually me saying ‘goodbye honey’ to my mentee?   It was not thought out in the least but it was definitely happening. 

Now, over a bit of time, Ms. Cranky doesn’t mind the change; she even thinks it’s sort of sweet (not ‘sweetie’).  One day she simply realized her new speech had become a pattern, an ‘okay’ pattern that came with the passage of time --- maybe like lower-heeled softer shoes or needing eyeglasses or trying to decide to color your hair or not?

.
Ms. Cranky wonders your thoughts on this matter and also wonders if it happens in all cultures and what the names would be in Italy or Croatia or China?  And, Ms. Cranky celebrates all the women who came before her and their most welcome terms of endearment.  A term of endearment is always enjoyed.

See ya’ ‘round ‘dearies’!!!
April 2015


a few photos from our winter --- long, tiring, slippery but, at times, utterly beautiful, this night even my neighbors were hanging out their doors admiring and admitting its beauty.






the geraniums are outside now but in winter, they are in cranky's bathroom getting the southern light they so love. the skirts were in an exhibit in a building cranky works in, there were several colors of skirts hanging in the winter garden of the world financial center, moving some; in time the art installation was to be put to music, the different-colored skirts probably swirling about which cranky would have enjoyed seeing but never caught that act.

thanks for looking, Ms. C.



POLLY WANTS A CRACKER, MS. CRANKY WANTS A CRACKER, BUT JUST A CRACKER. (And, please hold the seven-thousand varieties)


Ms. Cranky wonders if it’s too much to ask to just buy a box of crackers anymore, regular old crackers, crisp and chewy.  Cranky doesn’t want to dampen anyone’s spirits or, worse, dampen a cracker and make it soggy (yikes!) but these exotic cracker tastes --- hello!!!  Are we that truly bored?
Does Cranky really need a jalapeno-banana-with a hint of lime cracker (made up name)???  Or, sesame, flaxseed, limburger cheese crackers???
  
Can’t Cranky just get an old really crisp crunchy cracker of yore?   Okay, maybe the black pepper ones, okay maybe those but please not tootie fruity.  And, boy does Ms. Cranky love her horseradish but she loves it in a proper tall slim glass horseradish jar in her refrigerator, not in a cracker --- oh, all-right, maybe horseradish. Cranky’ll concede to that.

Cranky wonders when all this ‘enhancing’ will stop and at what point will the desire to gussie up a perfectly-okay product cease?  Dill and sea salt, not bad, fire roasted tomato, tomato and basil, rosemary, okay but Cranky does not need all this confusion.  

Cranky is confused enough by daily life and dodging people walking into her with their appliances.  Why a cracker too? isn’t there enough to juggle?  How much can the brain handle?  And, why are people acting so nuts???  Probably because they can’t find a good old plain cracker anymore, not to mention the exorbitant cost of a box.  Hello, millionaires club! 

And, in the meantime, can we find out what’s in the ingredients of all these exotic tastes???  Can we examine the labels?  Ms. Cranky does not believe that variety of this nature comes without a problem.  Perhaps if God had wanted ratcheted-up crackers, he or she would not have started us out with a plain old wonderful wafer.


Ms. Cranky would, as always, love to hear your thoughts on any of this.  Maybe she’s just being ‘too cranky’ here, she admits that.  Or, maybe, other people feel the same way.  She’d love to hear. 

And, remember, never eat, plain or enhanced, crackers in bed.  That is a given, if not much else is.


April 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

RIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS --- a bit behind but the spirit is still there



Ms. Cranky was honored one night to be on a subway platform at Bay Parkway waiting for the “F” train, with views so spectacular of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines that she went to the end of the platform in the very dark.  She was the only one there waiting and Ms. Cranky is scared of, like, just about everything.

The new World Trade Center which Cranky usually loves to hate, was spectacular, shining, shining and the old Empire State as always lit up and, then, building after building on each side of the river was bright and right below where she stood, were the memorials rising up to the sky of one of the most beautiful cemeteries Cranky has ever seen, a very old Jewish cemetery.   Oh, and did Cranky forget to tell you of the small slit of a moon just sitting up there in the very cold?--- Cranky finds skies so spectacular in the coldest weather though her knees climbing those old old subway steps weren’t doing as well as the night sky.

Then, a few days later Cranky went into Manhattan on a brief outing, conveniently forgetting how intense the ‘Christmas crowds’ would be even after Christmas.  She had a few errands to do, and, then, hoped to grab a decent cheap lunch and walk through Bryant Park.

It was really hard getting through the crowds, very claustrophobic but all could be handled and went all-right till Cranky couldn’t find the reasonably priced Irish bar where she’d had a great sandwich once and, since Cranky does not eat breakfast, she was getting weaker and weaker and wandering up and down side streets searching and searching --- ‘it’s gotta be the next block, etc.’ getting, more and more, err, ‘cranky’ so she, finally, dove into a dark diner (unusual in itself, she should have ‘realized’) and quickly ordered a turkey burger, the cheapest thing on the menu. 

That’s when she was pushed by the waitress to order ‘deluxe’ which she didn’t want. And, in time, Cranky would find out that if you didn’t pay extra for deluxe, at least in this joint, you weren’t even allowed a pickle on your plate! 

The waitress had her so upset pushing for ‘deluxe’ --- “You won’t get lettuce and tomato and fries” she kept repeating and Ms. Cranky would more-or-less-patiently reply that she didn’t want ‘deluxe,’ this went on and on and, then, the barren turkey burger with not a teeny thimble of over wrought slaw nor a pickle, arrived, and, for some reason had a second roll on the plate, which Ms. C. found strange but was too hungry to ask about it and started to eat.  Anyway, she couldn’t do another ‘deluxe’ conversation.   Cranky does admit to munching a bit of the second roll --- who knew a turkey burger came like that --- and, why?

So, when she went to pay her bill, Cranky was all excited and in a good mood to tell the tourists who had arrived in the shop some places to go, where window displays were still on, etc., Cranky loves pushing the delights of her city as you might guess.  But, when she got to the counter to try to get a check, the stalwart deluxe-pushing waitress had over-charged her for her very plain old turkey burger and, then, added on $1.45 (!) for the extra roll Ms. Cranky had never ordered.  Is that a lot of money for a roll???

When Cranky asked the waitress about all this, the woman started screeching --- ‘you get a menu and check the charges, you cheat, you cheat’ and went on and on about Ms. Cranky ordering a second roll.  There went the tourists sitting there, Ms. Cranky hoped to chat with.  This was not the Xmas, New York City spirit Ms. Cranky loved.

Cranky, per the menu, changed the wrong charges on the bill to correct ones, crossed out the aforesaid horrid roll not asked for, multiplied everything by 9% tax as 8.75 was too hard for her rusty math brain to handle.  She left the money at the counter near the cash register with the corrected receipt and even left the screaming waitress a tip on the table, not as big as usual, but a tip.  

Then, Cranky sadly exited the diner without her usual pep talk to the eager tourists as she was too humiliated and found herself out on the street, still really hungry and not in too pleasant a mood.  This was not what she had planned but, then, whatever is?

So, stalwartly determined to ‘start again,’ Cranky walked up the side of the NY Public Library building towards the beautiful Bryant Park with it’s even more lovely tiny Christmas shops and great skating rink at this time of year, still upset from the dim no-pickle diner experience.

As Cranky was walking up a stairway holding on to the railing on the right side (the correct side to go up) a woman sent her son, actually pushed him to that particular side, ‘the wrong side’, where he hit Ms. C. but did not totally topple her.  The boy was about 10 or so but pretty large and the mother who had pushed him and seen it all, came laughing behind him as Ms. Cranky tried to pull herself out of harm’s way.  Ms. Cranky was not having a ‘great day in Manhattan’ so far.

Cranky rarely gets mad enough to speak up but this time, high on the tails of the turkey burger, extra roll, overcharge incident, she shouted back to the mother --- ‘Thanks for sending your son to push me down the stairs’ --- but the mother just kept laughing.  Cranky’s words fell on, well, not ‘deaf ears’ but huge thick purple ear-muffed ears.

But, just as Ms. Cranky might finally give in and feel a sorry for herself, just then, as she re-arranged herself at the top of the little stairway, came a family of four --- an older couple ahead, then, an teen-age boy and, next, probably, his mother.  

Ms. Cranky would have thought nothing of this group except for the fact that the younger woman, bringing up the rear, was crying and as Ms. Cranky stopped to notice, the woman began actually sobbing hard --- right there walking along, coming up from the beautiful park.  That stopped Ms. Cranky in her tracks, literally.  

No, she hadn’t found the cheap Irish bar hard as she tried, she had a barely decent sandwich in a diner and had been mis-charged, then verbally accosted for the mis-charge and certainly didn’t have ‘deluxe’ treatment, then, trying to approach the beloved park, had a large child hurled at her by his laughing mother who kept on laughing even as the boy fell into Ms. Cranky.

It hadn’t been a great outing but Ms. Cranky was not walking behind her family and crying, not even a little bit.  She quickly forgot her own minor woes and felt very sorry for this woman. 
Cranky approached the low white wall of the park which she so loved, where you could look out all across.  

She had finally arrived there and blessed herself as was her old way and stood silently praying for the poor sobbing woman, wishing she could stop whatever was hurting her, hoping the woman’s pain would go away real, real soon.

Ms. Cranky, sometime after Christmas, 2014Thanks for stopping by, love to hear any of your Christmas stories, sweet and bitter.  Please come again, writing more now.